Monday, March 24, 2014

Morrowind Day 83 - The Cleansing of Gnisis

6 Sun's Dusk
Last night was an unpleasant one. I am not used to sleeping in a shack on the shore of a swamp and I suffered a restless night as a result. Such is life. Today's goal was to reach Gnisis and finish mapping the relatively small island the town is built upon. I only had a rough sketch of the island's shoreline and almost nothing of its interior save for the town itself. While my skill with a pen means I will never make a living as a cartographer, the rough sketches I am making gives me, as well as my Imperial 'friends', a good idea of what the previously un-mapped areas of Vvardenfell look like.

I had already mapped most of the land between Caldera and Gnisis, so it seemed a waste of time to go where I had been already. I figured I would save some time by simply walking across the water from the little shack to Gnisis. It was the most direct route and I thought would offer the fewest distractions.

After only three re-casts of my water walking spell I started to come across loose planks and shattered barrels floating on the water, sure signs of a shipwreck. I never found the ship, but most of the wreckage had washed up on a tiny island off the shore and I stopped to examine the few barrels that were intact.
Even the completely intact barrels were mostly empty, with a scattering of various plants strewn on the bottom. My only notable find was a steel dagger enchanted with a minor 'assistance' spell designed to guide the wielder's strike, but the effect was so minor that the weapon was useless to me.

I continued to explore the tiny islands along the way to Gnisis and found a cave on one of the larger ones north of the wreckage. The location of the cave is very strange: the door is set into a huge rock instead of a hillside and there seems no place to actually go once someone opens the door. Naturally, my curiosity demanded I solve this mystery.

The initial mystery was a simple one: the 'entrance' was really a small wooden closet into which a trapdoor had been installed. The trapdoor concealed a ladder disappearing into the land underneath the island and I proceeded down it slowly, for Khajiit are not accustomed much to ladders.
Like I said earlier, the Sixth House never seems to be subtle about announcing themselves. The cave was lit entirely by the House's signature red candles, giving the entire underground complex a slightly sickening hue.
The cave was staffed by the usual assortment of Sixth House servants: two tentacle-faced men, a stone-faced Dunmer woman, a 'normal' Blighted individual, and some un-Blighted, nearly naked, Dunmer cultists. The cave was astonishingly large for being, I assume, entirely under the sea and I wonder what forces of nature (or magic) resulted in the cave's existence.
A pool of an underwater cave
The Sixth House constructed a partition of wood (how?) in one of the tunnels in order to separate the shrine area from the rest of the cave. The bells and bell-hammer had made it down there, probably in pieces reassembled at the shrine. A staircase was carved into the rock wall nearby and I surprised one of the Sixth House priests on my way up. I quickly dashed at him and shoved him off the staircase, sending the mutated priest hurtling into the rock floor below. The crack of his skull hitting the ground certainly sounded reassuring.

The staircase ended at the actual shrine for Dagoth Ur and I only found a few gemstones and some loose coins in the nearby stone trough. Perhaps this cave was a recent acquisition by the Sixth House.
Virtue is going to have to be its own reward, for I found little else in the cave worth mentioning. I did search the priest's body on my way out and he had one of the Sixth House amulets around his neck, so perhaps this one was a high-ranking member. 

It was after noon when I stepped back outside and the distance remaining between me and Gnisis was covered quickly and without incident. I stopped at Fort Darius to purchase a standard Imperial Legion short sword and had hoped to also buy a silvered spear, but there were none available. Each weapon will serve as a good alternative to using my enchanted weapons, as the repairs to them are getting quite expensive!

Though I am not a member of the Legion, my limited standing with the Imperial Cult got me a free cot at the fortress for the night. It was late enough into the day that exploring Gnisis's island did not hold much appeal. I spent some time further refining my alchemy recipes and making a list of the supplies I would need before I resume my patrol along the barren northern shoreline, where I would find few services and shops.

My idea to visit the shore villages of Vvardenfell has so far led to much more progress than I had anticipated, which is encouraging, but worrying. I have already found a lot of evidence of the Sixth House's spreading influence and I have not yet even completed half of my trip.

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